All Spanish courses at TAPA are experiential communicative classes, with an overarching goal to use the Spanish language and culture in order to explore ourselves and the world around us. Courses are facilitated using comprehensible input, literacy instruction, and other best practices based on current language acquisition research. TAPA offers a full Spanish heritage speaker course sequence as well as the language and culture courses.
Multimodal literacy is a major component of all classes, including class novels, short stories, news articles, and independent reading. Students will analyze music, films, telenovelas, and podcasts, honing media literacy skills along with language comprehension.
A blended and personalized learning approach is implemented to allow for increased differentiation, student choice, digital literacy skill implementation, and small group time.
Guiding standards for all courses include: ACTFL 5C’s (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, communities) and “I can” statements, CCSS Literacy Standards, 21st Century Skills Maps, Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards, and RI SEL Standards.
Spanish Language and Culture I & Spanish Language and Culture II
Students can expect to understand Spanish from day one, in both written and oral forms. Reading short texts is a core practice. Student output is minimal at these levels. Content is student-generated and story-centered. Topics include exploration of self, immediate community, and global issues through fiction and non-fiction.
Spanish is taught using a natural approach to language learning. This method is based on providing a maximum amount of comprehensible input to the students, leading to natural language acquisition. Emphasis is placed on reading and listening to short stories, as well as vocabulary building. Reading comprehension is essential for success and the class will focus on activities to improve students’ reading comprehension in Spanish. The class will read several leveled novels together, and students will also read Spanish or bilingual texts of their choice during independent reading. Vocabulary in class is focused around high-frequency structures.
Spanish for Heritage Speakers I & Spanish for Heritage Speakers II
Designed for heritage learners of Spanish who already have some oral language proficiency, this course can accommodate students from a wide range of linguistic backgrounds. Students will build upon their current language skills to develop language and cultural literacy, as well as their own creative expression. This course will guide students to develop a deeper appreciation for their own identity and cultural heritage while recognizing that there are many ways to be Latinx.
During this course, students will gain confidence using Spanish to express their own thoughts on social and academic themes, interact with other speakers of the language, understand oral and written messages, make oral and written presentations, reflect on language variation, and critically view and evaluate media resources. Students will be able to understand material presented on a variety of topics related to contemporary events and issues in Hispanic communities.
This course is designed to continue to develop and challenge students’ ability in speaking, reading, writing, listening, and cultural understanding in Spanish. Spanish-speaking students are able to study Spanish formally in an academic and creative setting in the same way native English-speaking students study English language arts.
Reading, both as a class and independently, is the core component of the courses. Students also practice translating texts and critiquing translations. Students work to further develop their Spanish literacy and academic language skills, to learn more about their language and culture, and to enhance college and career opportunities as they become both bilingual and biliterate.
World Language Independent Study
Students who demonstrate a strong commitment to learning a language other than Spanish may pursue that language via an administrative-approved independent study. This course is completed primarily using online resources and programs, and is overseen by the World Language instructor. Students are expected to set language focus goals, manage their time effectively, complete all assignments given, reflect on progress frequently and adjust as needed, and communicate regularly with the World Language instructor both in person and virtually. This course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.
TAPA SPANISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Michaela McCaughey, Spanish Language Instructor
Michaela (she/her/ella) is a Rhode Islander who has returned after living in Argentina, Spain, Chile, and California. Profe's journey to TAPA began in 2004, during her junior year at the University of Rhode Island, when she studied abroad in Argentina. That short semester changed everything for her. She returned to URI to finish her studies, double majoring in philosophy and Spanish, but part of her never left Argentina. After graduating, she moved to Buenos Aires. She worked various odd jobs and made connections there, cementing her love for Latin America. From there, she lived in Spain and Chile, learning variations within the language and culture. She holds a master's degree in Spanish translation and interpretation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California, and she has worked as a Spanish interpreter in major hospitals in Boston and Providence. Completely infatuated with reggaeton, bachata, and all things Shakira, Michaela seeks to not simply “teach Spanish,” but to celebrate Latinx identity, art, and language. Her students are artists of all genres who push and inspire her. Many of the students at TAPA are heritage learners, and maintaining a heritage program for them is central in her pedagogy. Her curriculum focuses on social justice, culturally responsive teaching, arts-integration, and (bi)literacy.